How to Know When Your Senior Loved One Is Unable to Drive Safely
Aging is a blessing. Old age brings wisdom and a feeling of fulfillment. However, it also makes it somewhat challenging to do everyday things, such as driving.
Driving is often challenging for seniors. The various effects of old age–poor coordination, reduced strength, reduced reaction time, slow motor reflexes, and impaired hearing and vision–make it difficult for seniors to keep up on the road. The coordination difficulties pose a great risk not only for the senior drivers but also for other motorists.
So, how old are your parents, and are they still driving? Are you worried that they are not safe on the road? Here is a look at how to approach your parents about their driving.
The Average Age to Quit Driving
People age differently, and while one senior's faculties can depreciate fast, others can hold up for years to come. However, various studies conducted in the past have helped estimate the ideal age to get seniors off the road.
According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older drivers (drivers around the age of 65) observe due diligence better than younger drivers. They are more cautious of the weather conditions and don't engage in risky behavior, such as drug abuse, that may compromise their faculties.
However, senior drivers' mastery of the road depreciates as they approach 75 years and above. A study by the American Automobile Association reports that drivers aged 75 and above are involved in more fatal crashes per mile than younger drivers.
As such, you should become more cautious of mom and dad driving when they get past 65 years old. However, it is essential to remember that people age differently, so give them the benefit of the doubt before taking away the keys.
Gauging Driving Capability
So, how can you determine whether your parents are still fit to drive, despite their age? Here are some tips:
Schedule a Driving Test
If your parents feel they can still drive safely, ask to go for a drive with them. Get in the car with them and take a short drive around the neighborhood. Observe their mannerisms and check to see that they are not straining themselves to prove their point.
Schedule Regular Vision and Hearing Tests
Sight and hearing are two of the most important senses when driving; unfortunately, they are also among the first casualties as we age. As such, ask your parent to schedule a vision and hearing test to ensure that they’re in good shape to drive and react. Be sure to schedule regular follow-up tests as time will eventually take its toll.
Get an Expert's Opinion
If you still have doubts about your parents' driving skills, consult an expert for informed assurance. This is especially recommended if your parents are suffering from underlying medical illnesses or are using prescribed medication that may impair their senses.
Above all, approach the topic gently, even if your concern for them is valid. Admitting that you’re no longer able to drive safely is a significant loss of independence, and can be difficult to accept.
What about Safety at Home?
Safety on the road for driving seniors is not guaranteed, nor is their safety at home. It is common for seniors to get into accidents while in the safety of their homes. This is a clear indication of the need for consistent senior care.
Here at Senior Helpers, it's our mission to give seniors the best care during their golden age. We offer around-the-clock care for our clients. We bring our services right to you. Options include live-in home care and 24-hour home care by our licensed home caregivers; we also offer temporary care, including emergency overnight senior care.
We serve the following locations:
Michigan City, IN
La Porte, TX
Portage Lake County, MI
Contact us to learn more about our senior companionship and care services, and give your folks a chance to age in place gracefully.